I’ve been planning this post for a while, based on where I find myself at this moment in time. Having completing my annual fitness test this week though, I decided to just sit down and write it. It was my worst ever fitness test performance and while I destroyed the basic times and scores set for my age group (and of those literally half my age), it was still my worst. I felt no motivation to push myself, and no drive to do more than “just enough”. My fitness hasn’t really degraded, and I ‘could’ have done better but I didn’t.
You see, right now I don’t have a, “Why”.
I’m too comfortable.
There is nothing positive to focus my training and pull me forward, nor any threat or fear to push me from behind. There is no challenge to prepare for, no competition to win, and no team relying on my best performance.
Coaches often talk of the, “why”. It’s our challenge to assist a coachee with drilling right down in to that intrinsic spark deep inside that them that truly motivates them. Rarely is a stated goal the true intent. In the military, we call it the, “in order to”. As in, “I want to beat my lose weight…in order to fit in to my favourite dress.” Even then, it might be, “I want to fit in to my favourite dress…in order to look amazing at the Christmas ball.” And THEN there will be a deep-rooted reason behind wanting to look amazing at the Christmas Ball.
You get my drift.
Right now, I have no, “why”. Sure, I tell everyone that I want to be the fittest 50-60 year old that I can be in order to be able to do absolutely anything that my kids throw at me, including when they have kids of their own (*scary times*). And yes, that is a long-term driver which keeps me going to CrossFit, keeps me attending Obstacle Course Races, and keeps me generally fit. But after that, there is nothing. Although I was a competitive athlete in my teenage years, and I enjoyed playing rugby, I’ve never been a natural. I am not what you’d consider to be talented. I will never win OCRs, nor achieve anything of significance in CrossFit, even locally. It’s not that I don’t want to, but because it’s just fact.
And this is not necessarily a bad thing, it doesn’t make me a bad person and I know that.
So why do I bother then? Why do I haul my sorry ass out of bed at 6am or drum up some motivation at the end of a long, draining day?
Without a goal, or a short-term challenge, I firmly believe in doing some things…just because.
Taking pleasure, and seeing success, from the daily routine can be just enough to maintain stability and maintenance fitness. It won’t get you too much further forward but it’s enough.
Seeing the WOD on the spreadsheet (because I see it before the athletes) and not cherry-picking which ones I attend, or setting mini targets (such as going unbroken in pull ups or adding 2 extra wall balls to the previous max effort best) can be all it takes to achieve enough success to maintain the overall motivation to keep going.
Taking pleasure from the shared challenge of the workout is an area that CrossFit excels and something that coaches should capitalise on.
Those fist bumps and back slaps at the end demonstrates shared achievement in adversity and is powerful enough to deliver a sense of belonging, driving you to come back for more until a powerful motivator unmasks itself.
Of course, having an underlying , “Why” is powerful and always to be harnessed where it exists; without it, you’re unlikely to see real change and success. But not having one doesn’t mean you need to regress.
I’m also a believer in the next, “Why” being right around the corner, just a few moments, hours, or days away. And you want to be in the very best shape to dominate it when it arrives!